Zack and I wanted to check out the Purgatory Creek Confluence section of the river in our new wetsuits because our last attempt was cut a little short when we got cold. We knew there was a lot of fishing line and hooks in the river so Zack came prepared with his new knife and trash bag. There is a short section between the first railroad track and the confluence that I always assumed was too shallow to swim but we started there anyways and it ended up being easy to pass. The river splits around an island at the Purgatory Creek confluence and where it merges back together I found what looks like an old river/channel bank by looking at the ledge and old tree stumps. Historical records suggest the left channel around the island is the original river channel and the right channel was a sluice/race for a dam at the confluence, but overtime the river favored the right channel. Sort of like a man-made meander/oxbow.
Backwater in the confluence and an eddy below a downed treat create calm, motionless, scenes. I spotted this small Texas river cooter floating in the coon-tail/cabomba stand and it let me film within inches.
Winter sunlight breaks through the riparian forest and penetrates the water column creating beautiful moments.
Water stargrass is one of the less abundant native species that I enjoy observing. It can create large bush-like colonies. I also found the head of a catfish in an area where the river otters were reported from this summer. I wonder if it's possible this was one of their prey. This is the first sign of catfish I've seen above Rio Vista dam.
In late 2019 I participated in my first spear fishing tournament with my buddy Johnny. It was a learning experience for both of us but we had a great time! A January 2021 tournament is coming up and I got 2 more of my buddies, Zack and Mark, to sign up for their first time. Collectively, we're Los Cormoranes (The Cormorants) and just going out there to have fun and spear some invasive species.
Zack and I have been scouting out some areas and testing out our new 5mm wetsuits and I decided to take out my wide angle lens for some over-under shots. It's hard to do with a point-and-shoot camera and the low light from the overcast morning didn't help.
Trying all of the over-under shots made normal photos feel quite easy! Still tough in low light though.
The Texas River Cooters let me get so close! And you can hear them munching on the sagittaria (arrowhead) plant. How cool!
Zack and I checked out a new section of the river. From the Purgatory Creek confluence to the second railroad bridge where the bats live. As soon as we got in we found several fishing hooks and lines caught up. We pulled out as much as we could but I advise being very careful swimming in this area! There were some decent holes with enough room to swim over the vegetation. Lots of fish and turtles, particularly a bunch of giant largemouth bass! We also found some tiny eggs in the Hydrilla but I'm not sure what they are.
Underwater scenes and photos with my buddy! Good times. We're getting ready for the January pole spear tournament which will be a lot of fun!
Jess and I met up with some of our best friends Zack and Morgan to let Zack try out his new wetsuit. We swam above and below the Rio Vista rapids (which always scare me a bit). It was a sunny fall day with a lot of locals playing on the rapids without any special swimming gear but I was sure glad to have my wetsuit to stay warm. The water is considerably less clear this far below the springs but there are still plenty of plants and fish to admire!
I swam over to the east bank by River Pub restaurant, I had never looked closely at the old mill race channel there and I should have taken more pictures of the structure but it was pretty underwater. I took some close up shots of a cabomba flower and the air bubbles it was photosynthesizing.
Below the rapids were tons of Suckermouth Catfish, the invasive species we hunt during the pole spear tournament, and it made eager for the next opportunity to hunt for them!
I was pretty excited to find a cooperative rock/shadow bass hanging out under a boulder, as far as documenting the species of the river, this one had given me trouble, photography wise.
It was a nice little swim and the turbidity of the water kind of created a fun effect in the images.
During Covid-19 the river parks were closed to prevent crowds and spread of the virus. Private properties still had access to the river and SUP SMTX based out of river pub was able to get us on the water to celebrate my 31st birthday (July 19th). We paddled up from Rio Vista, ate some breakfast tacos on the island called Hell's Half Acre, snorkeled at the headwaters, and thoroughly enjoyed a beautiful morning on the water - having virtually the entire river to ourselves!
Blue Gill and Largemouth Bass
Minnows (Shiners?) and Mexican Tetra
Texas wild rice as habitat.
Texas wild rice aquascapes
It's amazing how much time you can spend in one small area. Snorkeling between Sewell and Headwaters.
This series is from the Cape's Dam area of Thompson's Islands. With so much debate about habitat surrounding this area it was time to take a closer look. Cape's Dam itself got a haircut in the past couple of weeks where Texas Parks and Wildlife removed the old exotic Giant Reed (Arundo donax) colony that had been growing out of the dam for probably decades.
On this day I focused on the section of river between Sewell Park and City Park (Lions Club). I started at "Dog Beach" across from City Park and swam upstream until the current was too strong for swimming with a camera. Then I walked to the top of sewell and began photographing once I got to the deep end of Sewell by the bleachers.